The Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health

38 days free from marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol and happy to report the cravings are practically gone  The best way they say to lose a bad habit is to replace it with a good one.  Well for me that replacement has been regular exercise.  And it has really made a difference in my mental and physical well-being.  I have never felt better and never exercised so much since I was playing sports as a kid and teenager.

Prior to 38 days ago, I was smoking cigarettes and pot on a throughout the day basis.  I had a medical marijuana card so it was legal and I used it for my anxiety which had been off the hinges after my last attempt at working.  But the problem was that the high didn’t last so I kept doing it to feel better.  And then when I smoked I couldn’t drive so I stayed at home way too much and didn’t want to hang out with my friends or family as much due to the cycle

But the great news is that the benefits of exercise last much longer than any high and it is so cheap in comparison to buying weed and cigarettes.

I even started going to the gym again and they have this awesome total body massage chair and table which helps my muscles to feel better after my workouts!  I have even started to get a workout in  the morning so my day starts off on the right foot.

So here are the many benefits but I am sure there are more~

  • A boost of endorphins after a good workout
  • Mental clarity
  • motivation to keep my house, life and myself in good shape and order
  • weight loss although it is slow
  • a fitter body
  • an excuse to get outside and also get the benefit of fresh air and sunshine when the weather is good
  • helps with memory
  • helps me to fall asleep faster and get better sleep so I don’t need as much (before I was getting 9-11 hours of sleep a night, now I get 7-8 and feel fine and ready to go)
  • adds variety to life as a new hobby I see myself doing the rest of my life
  • helps with stress
  • puts me in a good mood and helps me to stay there
  • my good moods are contagious so the people around me seem happier too!

I still have the occasional bad day but it is usually due to taking my rest day when you exercise a lot.  I used to have 1 out of 3 or 4 bad days but recently I actually had my longest streak of 9 days of feeling great and being motivated since being diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder in 2008

I vary my workouts to avoid boredom.  Lately I have been walking a lot, 9-12 miles a day actually because I compete on fitbit with people from around the country and my home town and I am very competitive ha ha.  But I will get tired of that after a while and get back to my sparkpeople videos for Latin spice dance workouts, cardio boogie, upper and lower body strengthening and intense power workouts to upbeat music.

One of the disadvantages of working out is that injury is common and it happened to me.  I strained my shoulder so have had to avoid upper body workouts until it heals.  I also stretch most days for ten minutes to help prevent injury and just bought a stability ball to work on my core muscles while I am sitting at my computer!

If you don’t exercise I urge you to try it for two weeks and see how your feel.  Start with a ten minute walk and go up from there but try to give it your all if you can and you’ll feel better if you do!  If you experience the benefits already as a regular exerciser, post in the comments your favorite workout routine.  I  love to get new ideas all the time and surely my readers would be interested too.

Good night!

Pax

Victoria

New medicine is working great!

 

Well I am happy to report that the new anti-anxiety medication is helping already.  Once again medicine and my awesome psychiatrist have saved the day!

My anxiety is much less and I feel like I could possibly work at a low stress job but I am not rushing into anything.  If we didn’t need the money I wouldn’t even bother but I am still waiting for permanent disability to kick in.  Since I got fired from my last job that will help my case and hopefully will speed things up.

What is really helping right now is my walking and work outs at the gym!  I took the day off from exercise yesterday and could feel the difference mentally.  I am like many people I need to fight my depression with medicine and movement!

Nothing is easy right now but I am pushing through and getting things done anyway despite how I feel.  I will make it to the gym today even if it is in the afternoon.  I am excited about using some of the new machines that staff showed me on Saturday and because it is cold outside I am going to use the treadmill to get my miles in and use inclines to get a more intense work out!

Surrounding myself with positive people and inspirational quotes helps a lot too lately.  I have a few good friends on FB who really post some neat things and I get a lot out of them and other things I read online on blogs and other sources.

I am just happy that the anxiety has left.  Mentally I feel more with it and more motivated to keep my house in order.  Having this disorder means so many things but I will not give up.  Every journey starts with a single step and I am putting my best foot forward to make a difference in my life and that of others.  Being charitable is hard when one is down but I try to help others as often as I can and it does help with my mood too.

The really great thing is that I am not psychotic right now despite the stress at my last job.  I don’t want to be psychotic ever again.  I want to be sober all the time and don’t even drink.  I do use nicotine lozenges throughout the day but don’t see myself giving them up anytime soon and do smoke a few cigs here and there..

My journey has brought me thus far; it is amazing the progress I have made and I hope that I can encourage others who also suffer from Schizoaffective Disorder.

Pax

Victoria

p.s. write anytime, I see I have some new followers, thank you for your interest.  Drop me a line anytime and share your story too… We all matter.  I blog a lot about how I am doing but as I see others check out my blog I wonder your story too and hope that my blog has made a difference in someone’s life other than my own!

 

 

Some of the ways I stay sane

 

Well the days are strange these days.  Some days I get a lot done and others I kind of bumble around not accomplishing much.  But that’s ok because I can’t have perfect days every day, that would be unrealistic.

These days I am very grounded in the reality of my situation.  I can’t work, not even part time.  My career is toast and although I am sad about that because I actually do enjoy working it is ok because my life is very full with family, friends and all my readers some of whom have become good friends.

I take great pride in the upkeep of my house and actually enjoy days when I get to stay home and make it shine.  I have also joined a book club for mental stimulation.  Right now we are reading Thoreau which was my pick so I am in heaven; I just love his writing.  I go to Church every week and practice my faith every day praying for all my loved ones and right now am praying for all who read this blog for relief such as I have found from this dastard disorder which does still rob my joy at times when I let it which sometimes is more often than I like to admit.

But I have hope, hope that while I live and breathe I can enjoy life and look forward to life eternal when I will no longer suffer from SA.  If I can give just one person hope, that is enough.  Coming to a place of acceptance is the greatest accomplishment and I hope that all of you can find the same.  Your life is not over because you have this disorder, different yes, but not over.

The best thing I have done is to find a psychiatrist who I trust with everything to get the medication cocktail just right and also finding a therapist who I trust as well to work through some of the facets of this disorder that I don’t discuss with my pdoc like how to live life with this disorder.  I no longer see this therapist but will forever hold onto her comforting sessions when I got to be myself and have a good sounding board to check in my sometimes still strange ideas and hear solutions which I couldn’t think of by myself.  Exercise is also key to my well being.  I walk sometimes 7 miles a day and enjoy this cheap hobby very much which brings me great relief of the depression that I still face at times.  Eating well is also vital to my well being.  I probably eat healthier now than ever before and I have lost 30 pounds doing so with the help of Weight Watchers to learn how to eat smart and be more active.

These are the main ways I stay sane.  Like I said not every day is perfect but the days that are are awesome.

Readers, write in and share some of your secrets for dealing with this disorder!

Pax

Victoria